McCain has a Plumber; Obama has an Army

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Or, rather, an Air Force pilot:

The convention in Denver was Mr. Finan’s introduction to big-time politics, and he quickly found himself doing broadcast interviews for the first time.

Between events he and about 25 other Iraq and Afghanistan veterans became like a small platoon.

They slept on supporters’ floors. They hung out. And they shared stories about arid, bloody places that often looked far worse than what they heard the Bush administration describe on television.


“For the first time since I came home, I felt like I had the same clarity of purpose with a like-minded set of individuals,” he said. “It really motivated me.”


It was a balmy fall day and the most telling exchange came halfway through, when they ran into Dan Nickloy, 56, a Vietnam veteran sitting on his lawn with his dog.

Mr. Nickloy said that he was an undecided voter and that he was concerned about Mr. Obama’s plan to remove troops from Iraq just as victory seemed close.


Mr. Finan stepped forward. “I think the Iraqis have gotten comfortable with us being there,” he said. (“That’s what I hear,” Mr. Nickloy interjected.) “And we’re not going to baby-sit them forever.”


The conversation continued, turning from war to sports. Mr. Carter and Mr. Finan walked away unsure of whether they had won Mr. Nickloy over. But they said they trusted the message would slowly sink in. “It’s like a foot patrol,” Mr. Carter said. “It’s hearts and minds.”

This election has also seen the emergence of “pro mission” veteran volunteers as well, and they are also  profiled in the NYT story. But the emergence of veterans as a growing force in progressive politics is one of those things that liberals have been SAYING was going to happen — like the youth vote — for many cycles now. And, lo, it took the Muslim terrorist candidate to get it to actually happen.